Posted (12/04/2010) -
After winning the W-League Championship in 2010, the Sahlen's owned Buffalo Flash have taken a giant step forward and joined the WPS, the top women's soccer league in the United States.
The new expansion side of Womens Professional Soccer announced today it will be called the Western New York (WNY) Flash. The team also announced its first free agency signing, US Womens National Team member Ashlyn Harris.
At a news conference at Sahlen's in Elma Tuesday owner Joe Sahlen said "we never intended to remain a minor league operation," referring to the USL W-League. Although the W-League is one of the most competitive leagues in the world, the club always aspired to be at the highest level, and that was WPS. The club was first offered a spot in 2012 but Sahlen wanted to ride the momentum of the 2010 championship and shoot for the 2011 season. The WPS approved the Buffalo Flash of the W-League, and became the Western New York Flash of the WPS.
Sahlen said "Rochester and Canada are important parts of this because we are, like the Bills and Sabres, a regional franchise." As it currently stands, the Western New York Flash will play an 18 game regular season schedule with at least half of their games being played at the Rhinos Stadium Rochester, home of the USL Rhinos. The games that will be played in Buffalo may be played at All High Stadium in the city or at Niagara University. Niagara is attractive because of its proximity to Canada, along with its soccer specific pitch. Sahlen said talks with Niagara University will begin soon.
The team also announced its first free agent signing, Ashlyn Harris. She was the starting goalkeeper for the Washington Freedom in her rookie season and is currently third on the US Women's National Team depth chart.
"I"m thrilled to be in Buffalo. I love their vision,” Harris said. “They don’t want to come into this league and be average. They want to get the best. They want to win. As a player, you respect that.”
The WPS plays an 18 game regular season schedule from April until August. The top four regular season teams qualify for the 2011 WPS playoffs at the end of August.
For season tickets or for more information on the Flash, please call 716-655-7529 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the Western New York Flash, Sahlen's additional Sporting Venture, Team Sahlen, will be competing in the Grand American ROLEX Sports Car Series in 2011. The team will be fielding 3 Mazda RX-8s in the GT class. Lead driver for the team will be former Indy Car Driver Memo Gidley. With 2 such exciting sporting ventures, it should be a very exciting year for Fan's of the Sahlen's brand in 2011.